Belleville resident charged after dangerous Napanee boating incident

An Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) boat navigates the waters of Lake Ontario. File photo via OPP East Region.

Editorial note: This article has been updated since its original version. Please see bottom of the article for updated information.

A frightening experience for one local family – including their children – has resulted in charges for a Belleville resident.

The local family was out enjoying some time on the water on Sunday, Jul. 9, 2023, when another boater instigated a terrifying ordeal, according to the family, whom Kingstonist is not naming to protect their privacy. The incident occurred in the area of Sherman’s Point

The area circled in red is where the incident occurred on Sunday, Jul. 9, 2023. Graphic via Google Maps.

While the father of the family was in the water and attempting to reboard their boat, another boat approached, driving directly towards the family’s boat. According to the family, the approaching boat did not change course as it drew closer, and those on board began yelling and swearing at the family. When the family yelled back to tell the boaters to steer away, the approaching boaters threatened to ram the family’s boat with their own, frightening the whole family, but particularly the very young children who were on their boat.

At that point, the family looked on in shock as the male driving the boat instructed the female with him to “hand him his gun,” according to the family. At this point, the family had decided to drive away from the conflict, the father back on board their vessel. However, as they were doing so, they say they saw the male boat driver take something out of a box and point it at them.

The family immediately contacted police.

Kingstonist followed up with the Lennox and Addington (L&A) Detachment of the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), as well as the general East Region OPP, to find out the results of their investigation. According to Acting Sergeant Erin Cranton, Media Relations Officer for the OPP East Region, officers from the L&A OPP responded to a call regarding threats being made on the water at approximately 4 p.m. the same day. As a result of their investigation, one person was arrested and charged the following day.

According to the OPP, 35-year-old Michael Ehrlick of Belleville has been charged with uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm, and pointing a firearm. Ehrlick was released from custody and is scheduled to appear at the Ontario Court of Justice in Greater Napanee in September 2023.

Update (Tuesday, Jul. 18, 2023):
According to further information on this matter provided by the Lennox and Addington (L&A) Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), there were more people on both of the boats involved than initially indicated.

The family was travelling on a pontoon boat with five adults and two children. They were water skiing when one of the adult males fell into the water. The pontoon boat was then approached by another boat, which the OPP identified as a “cabin cruiser,” which had four adults travelling on it. Those on the shore reported that people on the two boats were arguing with one another, and the cabin cruiser drove toward the pontoon boat.

According to Constable David Yome, Media Relations Officer for the L&A OPP, the cabin cruiser was located and searched following the incident, and no firearm was located on the boat. Police did locate a flare gun, however.

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